Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard

Over the last couple of weeks I've picked a ton of bok choy and Michihili Chinese cabbage. I didn't give a lot of it away. With all the insects in them this year, there were a lot of bad parts and parts that needed a really good scrubbing. What I had to cut out was minimal, but pervasive. So I kept most of it.

The hearts and the other Chinese cabbage I'm hoping will just store in the fridge for July's greens. But the bok choy and the outer leaves of the Michihili don't keep as well. And I had tens of pounds of these. So last Friday I finally got to chopping it up and blanching it all. Well not all. But I did four batches that day which is probably enough for now. It made 30 little baggies full of blanched choy. Each one had about 3/4 of a cup, which is about how much I'd want in one of my stir fries. It will also be used in soups.

In addition I had too much broccoli to eat before it would go bad. Some went to the townhouse mates. But a good portion was blanched and cooled in ice water.

I came out with a total of about 8 packets of broccoli, each with a cup. I tried to use my vacuum sealer, but it really isn't working well anymore. The seals aren't good enough to hold a vacuum. There are little gaps. I think I need a new one.

I've never blanched and frozen either broccoli or any of the choys. I'm a really picky eater sometimes. I don't like limp veggies. But in stir fries and soups they ought to be fine. And I'm praying the broccoli works out. I would so love broccoli in the winter.

Join the rest of the Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard posts over at The Gardener of Eden.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


We are predicted to possibly have another heat wave coming up. The last heat wave really made the plants start to grow. The pole beans had just starting running, now they are at the top of the trellis.

The bush beans have taken over the path. Yes there was a path between the onions and the beans. Now I step on the beans when I want to go down there. I put the Masai beans that are the only bush green bean in the group, in the middle of the patch. Why did I do that? It would be so much easier to pick if it were at the end. It is next to the Tiger Eye beans and they were acting like pole beans and running. So I put them back into their section which took a while. I want to be able to tell which beans are which. They might look different as green beans, but they might not. And I only want to pick the Masai as a green bean. The dried beans can get mixed up all they want. I can tell which is which after they are shelled if necessary because the beans are all very different.

I hadn't yet put in the irrigation. I started it a long time ago when it was still cold. But today I got them finished. They still aren't tested yet, but at least this was done. I was afraid if I left it any longer I wouldn't be able to get it in as the sweet potatoes were starting to root all along their runner. They really took off in the last week.

Another thing that took off was my cucumbers. They are starting to climb their cages. They were also starting to grab onto the row cover that the zucchini are under.

I'm really glad those row covers are up because look at the borer I found. Its mate would have loved to have laid eggs on my squash. This is the earliest I've ever seen them in the garden. In a "normal" year I would find the first one in mid July. Last year it was early July. Now it is the end of June. I might even have to worry about a second generation since they are so early. Usually we don't get one. But this year we might. Maybe in early September? I think I can live with that. I'll be sick of zucchini by then. Or at least that is the hope.

But not all the insects I saw were bad. I really love seeing green metallic bees in the garden. I think they are so pretty. This was on a surprise sunflower. I had no clue it had opened, much less set a bud. I guess I just don't look up much in the garden. I'm just amazed at how the summer garden has leapt ahead after just sitting there for so many weeks waiting for warmth.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Harvest Monday, June 25, 2012

I know many of you saw this earlier. I just couldn't get over how well my broccoli has done this year. I guess it was just the perfect weather. I picked it all before the heat wave hit. Fiesta is a really nice variety for me. The only issue is that all the heads had to be picked at the same time. They don't hold on the plant. When they need to be picked, they need to be picked right then. The heads averaged a pound and a half each which is better than any other variety I've had. The Windsor for previous weeks averaged about a pound.

I also picked all the Michihili cabbage before the heat hit. I took it apart outside because of all the bugs in it. I wanted to do the preliminary wash with the hose. I grew two since I loved them so much last year. This year the flavor isn't as fabulous. Still good, but not to die for. Even after trimming all the damage off, they produced nine pounds in just six square feet and in less than half our growing season. So I can't complain about production. Well except maybe too much production.

Wednesday morning was a busy time. I knew once the heat hit I wouldn't want to be in the garden. So I picked the peas and a few of the first carrots.

Then the strawberries. Sadly I'm finding I might have trouble eating strawberries too. Dang it. Gardeners shouldn't be plagued with food intolerances. Well I see my doctor today. So I guess I'll find out.

Friday I had a bit of excitement as I picked the first of the blueberries and gooseberries ever from the yard. Whoohoo! Subsequent blueberries were eaten out of hand. But I had to take a photo of them first.

More peas.

I planted too much chard. I planted too much chard. I planted too much chard. I swear I didn't plant any more than last year. But still way too much. It is so happy. I think it liked the heat too. I have all I need frozen. So I kept one pound for my use this week. I gave a pound to my townhouse mates. That left seven pounds to give away. My initial neighborhood mailing list gave me no takers. So I expanded to a couple other friends that I thought might want it. I finally got one. I hope she takes it all.

And as I thought, I went positive on Wednesday June 20th. The earliest year ever. It has just been a phenomenal greens year for me. I'm at 142 lbs of greens harvested already. That is just huge. And yes a lot has been given away or frozen for the future. There is no way I could eat that much.

And as I missed Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard, I'll post a couple of my meals here. This was lunch. It featured tuna salad with some pickled peas on a homemade bun. The coleslaw as made with my Chinese cabbage, carrots, Japanese turnips and the last of the radishes.

Last night's dinner was a saute of Chinese cabbage, carrots, onions, and Japanese turnips from the garden with scallops on top. The sides were my garden broccoli and some homemade rosemary and olive oil bread with rosemary and other herbs from the garden.

  • Alliums 0.52 lbs
  • Broccoli 7.95 lbs
  • Carrot 0.66 lbs
  • Greens 24.66 lbs
  • Peas 3.39 lbs
  • Turnips 0.48 lbs
  • Weekly total 37.66 lbs
  • Yearly total 191.62 lbs
  • Tally 76.74
  • Fruits 
  • Strawberries 0.8 lbs
  • Blueberries 0.04 lbs
  • Gooseberries 0.18 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Two Pests

I have a lot of the carrot family of plants growing in my garden. Above are my actual carrots, but I also grow dill, parsley, cilantro, and celery. The cilantro has been amazingly good this year. The celery seems to be growing fine. The carrots above look OK on top, but the roots just aren't growing as well. I pulled up a batch and found a mild infestation of root knot nematodes on them. Root knot nematodes can really affect a lot of crops. I tend to grow Ground Control marigolds here and there in the garden to help control them. This year I didn't start any thinking they would self sow, but only two have come up so far. So I'm going to transplant one to the middle of the bed where the fall carrots will be. Hopefully that will help.

The worst affected are my parsley plants. They struggled last year, losing a leaf or two, but this year none of the leave seem to be getting the nutrients they need. I think next year I need another variety. This one just can't handle the conditions. Also my dill which I've never had an issue with in decades, has died in the dill bed. The self seeded spot in the circle garden grew fine, but I ripped them all out when I planted the sweet potatoes. Now I might not get any seed this year. It would be a first for me. I wonder if the weird weather has made the nematodes worse.

And speaking of pests in the garden, the squash vine borer is one of my least favorite. I only grow C. moschata (butternut species) in the garden for winter squash since it is resistant. But the zucchini are all C. pepo which are quite susceptible, so the borers almost always kill my zukes when they hatch. This year I had to plant my zukes at the normal time. But with the warmer weather everything in nature is early. Which means the month of abundant zucchini is not to be unless I do something. So I finally went out and covered my zucchinis with a row cover today.

The timing for this is always a question. Traditionally you would want to do this when the chicory blooms. The chicory has been blooming for about a week. But I was not watching those. I watched the GDDs (growing degree days). For the northeast section of the US, Cornell University calculates these for us so I don't have to. Though they are calculated as follows. Take the average of the high and low for a day and subtract 50F. For instance yesterday we had a low of 73.5 and a high of 96.2, so the average of the two is 84.9. Subtract 50F and you get 34.9 for the daily number. The GDD is calculated from the beginning of the year. So each of these daily numbers is added up. When you hit 950 then the squash vine borers are out. They live for about two weeks before they die off. In New England we only really get one generation (though this year might have two).

Right now Boston is at 880. I could wait a little longer, maybe. Our weather is not exactly the same as Boston. I figured I was safe at 880 though and then I wouldn't have to pay attention as much. The fact that the chicory blossoms were out a week ago was troubling. Does Mother Nature really count degree days? I checked the zucchini stems and didn't see any eggs yet. Also the zucchini blossoms are not open yet, so I don't have to hand pollinate and the row cover won't affect anything. I'll keep an eye on it though. I see little tiny buds. I'm sure within the next week the first will open. Then I'll be hand pollinating at least every other day. Then the question will become when to take the row cover off.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Heat Wave

Up until now we have had one of the coolest Junes in over 30 years. But I think that is going to end today as it is the start of a heat wave for us. In our neck of the woods a real heat wave is defined as three days in a row 90F or over. The predictions for Boston are 97F, 99F, and 90F for the next several days, so I think it qualifies.

I did a few things this morning to prepare. I picked all the snap and snow peas that were even close to ready. The peas can probably survive the heat, but it will be very hard on them. I also picked all the Michihili cabbage from the Asian greens/brassica bed.

This was no small chore. I swear there was a microcosm of life in each head. Especially the one that didn't seem as damaged. I even found an earthworm in the middle of that one. How can an earthworm survive in there? Was he munching on my Chinese cabbage too? Much of the leafy part was too damaged to save, but stems were pretty untouched. So I cut the leafy part off and saved the stems. The stems are actually my favorite part of this cabbage so it was no great loss. In the middle was a nice little untouched core of blanched heart. Yum. For the really eaten up one I just tossed all the outer part and kept the pretty core. I'm shocked there really was a core. Oh and they were huge. Just huge. I could barely lift the big more undamaged one. I probably salvaged about half, maybe a bit less, of the cabbages. Their tally weight is probably just under 15 lbs, but I haven't added it all up. Much of them are destined to be frozen. I think the stems will make a good veggie for soups and stir fries come winter. Not today though.

This is what is left in the bed. Don't the two cabbages look lonely? Except for the chard they are the only greens left harvestable in the garden. I hope they survive the heat. I thought about picking them too, but I want to harvest them in a couple of weeks. Or at least that is the hope. Maybe not though. I haven't grown real cabbage in quite a while. Maybe I'm over estimating its tolerance to heat.

I did a couple other chores before it got into the 90Fs. I planted the last wave of corn. I tied up some floppy flowers. I put the next layer on the tomatoes and cucumber cages. The cucumbers aren't that big right now, but I'm hoping they take off in the heat.

Then it was a nice bike ride with a friend. We have the Minuteman Bike Path not far from our house and I use it a lot. It is a very pleasant ride. I thought I was done with everything, but then I had a thought. How was the broccoli doing?

Whoohoo they were all ready to pick. Actually they were a little bit over ready to pick. I should have been out there a couple days ago. But since I was actually on the Cape with family a couple of days ago, it just didn't happen. The Windsor broccoli held on the plant longer. The Fiesta was ready all at once and didn't hold on the plant at all. Fiesta is a later broccoli. And the head were huge. The largest was 1lb 11.5oz. None of these head would fit into my gallon plastic bags they were just too big. I had to trim off the florets on the edge to make them fit. I think I'm going to have to freeze some of these. I gave a bag to my townhouse mates. But I don't think I can eat the rest before they go bad. Too bad they call came at once. I've never had enough broccoli to freeze before. I'll have to look up how long to blanch it. Oh and the broccoli isn't over. The Windsor has already started making side shoots. Fiesta is supposed to be a fabulous side shoot producer, sometimes ones even as big as the main head. And they are supposed to be able to survive the heat. I'm hoping for production all summer. We will see. I like the plants though. They are very short and stocky.

Now that most of the spring greens are out of the garden I can look back and see just how amazingly they did this year. The early warmth heated up the soil well and then the cool May and June made them grow beautifully. These plants were mostly put in after the big heat in March and April. If they had gone in early like usual, I think they would have all bolted early and not produced so much. I have my March vacation to thank for that. I couldn't start them until I got back toward the end of March so things didn't get planted up until the middle of April. It was just dumb luck that it worked out so well for me.

Sadly the sweet potatoes and the other warm weather crops have not liked the cool weather so much. These were put in at the start of June, three weeks ago. They are just starting to grow.

The ones that Norma gave me were put in just two days earlier and they got a little bit of heat before that week of drizzle and cold. The difference those two days made was amazing. These seem much healthier and have really started to grow a bit. But the other bed has mostly just sat there. I'm sure with the heat wave, they will all take off. I can only hope. And now that the greens are mostly out I won't hate the heat quite as much.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Harvest Monday, June 18th, 2012

I look at this photo and it just doesn't do the size of these bok choys justice. The biggest was almost five pounds. Total they were eleven and a third pounds of choy. I gave one to my townhouse mates. The rest I took apart and have in my fridge to eat over the next week or so. Well maybe. That is a lot of choy. I ought to open the pickled choys I did earlier and see if I like them. Then I could pickle a lot of them. Needless to say I've been eating it every day at least once a day and sometimes more. Then on Sunday I picked the last two as they were bolting. I forgot the photo, but I took them apart outside before bringing them in (gets rid of the nasty insects). One was just huge. So there was more than 5 pounds plus additional. Total was about 17 lbs.

Again the broccoli doesn't look that big. That is because the green onion is a quarter of a pound all by itself. Again it is a nice big broccoli head.

Usually when I pick chard I do it every other week and pretty much take all the big leaves. This wasn't the week for picking chard, but I wanted some for pizza, so I picked a few leaves.

Peas, peas, peas and more peas. Peas make great snacks. I always have some tzatziki dip made to go with them.

And June just wouldn't be June without strawberries. The harvests are smaller than a couple of weeks ago, but they are still coming in. Sadly my strawberry protector is gone. I had mocking birds nesting near the strawberries. They kept the squirrels and the flocks of sparrows out. The strawberries are covered, but some are growing out of the netting in the open. I hope those birds don't find them.

More peas and strawberries. I'm really going to miss June when it is gone.

I picked my three Soloist Chinese cabbage. There was a ton of earwig and some slug damage. I peeled off the outer layers and finally got to the core that was undamaged. I would have been sad to not get any this year. Each one is about a pound. The larger Asian greens/brassica bed is half empty now. I just have some Early Jersey cabbage and some Michihili Chinese cabbage. I'll probably pick the Michihili next week. I'm praying there are undamaged leaves in there too.

I've noticed that my tally is almost positive already. It might even be positive on the next harvest Monday, even before July. That would be my first ever time that has happened. Usually I break even in mid July sometime (last year July 18th was the Harvest Monday post where this happened). This year is such a different year since I won't have any tomatoes and peppers. They are a high dollar crop for the space. I've replaced a lot with corn and sweet potatoes, which aren't as costly. But at least the early crops have done well. The only real loss to the weird weather so far has been the lettuce. They really bolted quickly. I would have guessed the Asian greens were more prone to bolting than lettuce but that turned out not to be the case.

  • Alliums 0.24 lbs
  • Broccoli 0.99 lbs
  • Greens 20.69 lbs
  • Herbs 0.08 lbs
  • Peas 4.83 lbs
  • Turnips 0.38 lbs
  • Weekly total 27.21 lbs
  • Yearly total 153.97 lbs
  • Tally -$16.33
  • Fruits 
  • Strawberries 3.04 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

One of these is not like the other

I figured that small zucchini on the right wasn't going to give me any squash. If it did I think they would be the size of its tiny little leaves. They are both Raven zucchini plants. The first is growing quite well. The other is convinced it is a cucumber or something. So I pulled the poor thing and replanted.

While I was at it I replanted the third wave of corn. So far the first wave was a bust and I had to replant most. I think seven of the originals are still there. The second wave had to be replanted. Now the third wave is getting replanted. I'm beginning to think I should start them inside in blocks. Well at least most of the first and second wave are finally up. Late but up. The last fourth wave is supposed to go in on June 21st. I don't know if it will have time to mature at that late date, but I'm trying to figure this corn thing out. I thought maybe my issues in the past were all timing. So far it just seems like corn hates me. When we do get some though it is so delicious that I'm going to keep trying. You never know. This year was the first ever for large broccoli heads. So maybe some year will be the perfect corn year. If I'm lucky maybe even this year.

As the weather has been slowly warming up - very slowly as it is 2:30 in the afternoon and the temp is only 65F - the weeds have really started germinating. The crab grass is trying to take over the world. I've been out and pulling as I see them, but sometimes they get ahead of me and I have to actually sit down and weed a bed out. But all in all I'm staying on top of it.

Not much else but harvesting is going on. The summer crops are growing slowly in the cool weather, but growing. Even the sweet potatoes seem to be doing something. Not much but at least something. I expected such a hot summer after the spring we had, but maybe it will be a pleasant summer instead. My favorite weather has always been in the 70Fs. So if that is what I get, I can't complain too much.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

On Monday I was asked about my pickled peas. So today I'll give the recipe. The recipe works for most veggies including cucumbers. It is not a canning recipe, but a refrigerator pickle recipe. Nothing is cooked. You can heat the vinegar and water to help dissolve the sugar, but it isn't necessary. If you do, make sure it is cool before pouring over your peas. The nice thing about refrigerator pickles is that the vegetables stay very crisp since they are never cooked. They keep fairly well. I typically keep them for about three months, so it is an easy way to preserve if you have the refrigerator space.

There are two parts to the recipe. The pickle juice is the first which is a vinegar solution. You can make as much or as little as you like. If you make extra you can keep it in a glass jar in the fridge until you have something to pickle. Personally I made four times the recipe since I was making three quarts of pickled peas. I might have gotten away with just making three but I'm not sure it would have been quite enough.

Pickle Juice

  • 1 T salt
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 3/4 c water

You can use any vinegar you like. I often use white vinegar because I like the bite. Many people don't. If not use cider vinegar.

The second part of the recipe is the vegetables and spices. Right now the vegetables are snap peas. Later they will be cucumbers or maybe beans. If you notice I have the spices in the jar above. Onions I consider part of the spice, but they could just as easily be the vegetable. For spices you can be simple and just use dill or maybe some pickling spices. I tend to be more complicated. I use onion, garlic, fresh ginger, dill weed, dill seed, mustard seed, peppercorns, coriander, bay leaf, whole allspice, whole cloves (one or two in a jar only as they are very powerful), and cinnamon bark. I used to use chili peppers too. I'd put one or two in the jar. Since I can't eat them anymore, I just leave them out. But the bit of the chili goes very well with pickles.

Pour the liquid over the veggies and let them sit in the fridge for a bit. I try to let them sit for at least three days before eating. But sometimes they just don't make it that long. But with three quarts at least some of them get eaten after they have had a chance to develop a good flavor.

One of the things I like best about refrigerator pickles is that you can make them even if you have harvests just trickling in. You don't need pounds all at once to preserve. You can make up a jar half filled with pickle juice and the spices and as you harvest you can toss in your veggies a few at a time. It is especially good if you like cucumber pickles, but are only harvesting a cucumber a day. You can't really save them up as they would go bad, but you can just toss them in the jar as they come in. Eventually the jar will be filled up and you can start a new one and start eating the filled one. Also it is nice in the summer when it is hot and you just don't want to bring out the canner and heat the house up with steam. They may not keep for years this way, but they do keep for months and the pickles have a much better texture.

Join Robin over at The Gardener of Eden for more Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard posts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rain, Rain

Last Friday we had a huge wind and rain storm. It even brought some hail that bruised the pea pods. But the only real damage was to the unsupported plants. The fava beans fell over as did the mustards. The next day I got the favas up, but the mustards didn't get up until later. By then the peas on the other side had grabbed them and it was impossible to walk down my path. Finally I gave them some bamboo and string to keep them up. I hope they stay. But it is nice to have my path back. Now I can actually pick the peas again.

This is the view from the other side of the mustards. You can tell that this side is shorter than the really tall brown mustard on the other side. The yellow mustard really had trouble getting started this year. I wonder if the height is indicative of that or the plants are just a shorter variety. I think the yellow mustard will give me a bit of seed, but the brown will be a great harvest.

Today it is raining again. It isn't supposed to get out of the sixties, but some times they are wrong. I can hope. I looked this morning and have exactly one corn plant up from the group planted eleven days ago. I'll resow once the rain is over and the weather warms up a bit. It hasn't liked these temps one bit.

The cucumbers in the front and the zucchini in the back seem to be doing just fine which is surprising. they sure don't like this kind of weather, but they are growing well even so. One zucchini is growing strangely though. Zucchini usually has a few large leaves to start. This one seems to have twice as many leaves, but they are so tiny. I'm wondering if I should just replant it. The melons in the next section over are alive, but not growing well. They are melons. They love heat and hate wet cold weather. I was thinking early on it would be a hot summer, but maybe not.

The onions on the other hand have just loved this weather. I don't think I've ever had them this big this early before.

The foliage is so heavy it is not standing as straight as usual. The leaves bend more. But the plants are happy.

The coriander that fell over in the previous storms and I propped up, has now fallen over again. It just pushed the string right down and the stems bent over until they touched the path. So I've given up. They wills stay like that until I harvest it all in a month. If it were in another bed I might be able to fix it, but here it is very hard to push the stakes in since the soil isn't as deep. The subsoil is really like concrete.

And today I think I'll stay inside. Rain, rain, rain.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Harvest Monday, June 11th, 2012

I'm really proud of this. Not that I've done anything different this year than any other time. But it is my first ever large head of broccoli. Sure I've gotten 4 or 5 inch heads before, but never an 8" head. I guess the plants really liked the cool wet weather we had last week. The corn I seeded sure didn't. It still hasn't shown signs of germinating. I think it might have rotted in the ground.

This is my main harvest for the week - komatsuna, snap peas, kohlrabi, Japanese turnips, and camomile. The kohlrabi did better this year than any other too. I think the brassicas have liked the weather recently. Though they won't be as happy with this week's weather. My heat lovers will appreciate it though.

You see that empty spot in the basket. I had already weighed and given the snow peas to my townhouse mates. I totally forgot their photo. I got enough snap peas finally to make some refrigerator pickles. I'm happy now. Or will be in a few days when they get pickled enough.

And speaking of forgetting to photograph. Not only did I forget to photograph two of my harvests of strawberries, but I forgot to weight them too. Both were larger than this one, and one was a lot larger than this one. So I guessed they weighted 2lbs total. But I'm sure they were probably twice as much. Last Harvest Monday was my huge week for strawberries and now they a petering out just a bit. The Earliglows are over and the Sparkle just isn't producing as much. I think my everbearer is producing more than the Sparkle. So sad. If it continues next year, I'm probably going to pull them and just make them all Earliglow or maybe try another later variety.

  • Broccoli 0.94 lbs
  • Greens 5.01 lbs
  • Peas 4.94 lbs
  • Turnips 1.08 lbs
  • Weekly total 11.98 lbs
  • Yearly total 126.75 lbs
  • Tally -$140.01
  • Fruits 
  • Strawberries 2.94 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rejuvenating the Strawberry Bed

Strawberries are perennials, but after three years they really don't produce much. Basically the strawberry bed needs to be redone at that point. I don't like to lose production. So for the June bearers I redo part of the bed every year. My beds were all created last spring a year ago. I had ten plants. Those plants were put in along the front of the bed at about a spacing of a foot apart. The rest of the bed got filled in by runners. It was a lot of work, but I pulled any runners that weren't on the one foot grid. Well mostly. They do get out of hand. Both the Earlyglow and the Sparkle send out massive quantities of runners. And it is a weekly chore to snip off all the runners as they start to form.

This year once the Earlyglow finished producing berries, I pulled up the front half of the bed and cleaned up all the debris. I added some fertilizer and a layer of compost. Then I took the runners from the other plants and spaced them. I have some stakes that I use to make sure they are put in the right spots and don't move. All the other runners I don't want. But Donna has asked for some to start a bed. So I'll let some grow and have her come in and dig them up as soon as they start rooting.

I'm not really sure yet how I'll redo the everbearers. They produce all year long so there is no down time to rip them up. I'm thinking maybe do a quarter of the bed every year and rotate it around. My everbearer, Seascape, doesn't send out nearly as many runners. So replacing plants is more problematic too. I'm sure if I still have strawberries in ten year I'll have it all figured out. But for now it is my first time growing the day neutral types.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

This has become one of my favorite lunches recently. Pickled herring, a few crackers, veggies and dip. The veggies here are some left over grilled bok choy, snap peas, and some kohlrabi made into sticks. The dip is a modified tzatziki since I have no cucumbers. But I'll make the real thing when I have cucumbers this summer.

Daphne's Tzatziki

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (really use Greek, not the American sutff)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T minced fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic mashed (or one mongo one if you use German Extra Hardy garlic)
  • 1/4 c grated cucumber, squeezed to get all the water out

Hey isn't it nice that I have a Greek name to put in the recipe name? But no I'm not Greek. I just love tzatziki.

I have been preserving a lot in the last week. I have no photos of it though. I've been drying herbs. So far I have my yearly supply of dried oregano, English thyme, and peppermint. I also dried some chamomile and cut the plants back. I'll probably do one more batch before I let the plants do to seed.

Join Robin over at The Gardener of Eden for more garden preserving and cooking.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Good and the Bad

Beans starting to run

We have had a spate of cold wet weather. Monday's high was only 52F. Brrr. At least today we are supposed to get into the 60s finally. We only got two inches of rain over the last four days, but it has been constantly drizzly so not much work has been done in the garden.

But the beans were starting to run and I hadn't put up the strings for them to climb. I did find a not so wet time yesterday to finish the chore after being chased in previously. It might be cold and the insects might be chewing on the beans, but still they want to grow. Go beans! That is my good news this time.

As to bad news, I lost one battle. This is my rhubarb. I was trying to keep it from blooming, but it was hopeless. It just wanted to. I had cut off numerous flower shoots, but it wore me down and I finally let it go.

Ugly huh? The aphids have really taken over the fava beans as usual. I hope the lady bugs come in and breed like they did last year. I really need them about now.

And probably the worst news, the earwigs have been really bad this year. This is what an earwig does to a Michihili cabbage. Luckily one seems to be untouched. But at least two of my three Napa cabbages have been hit, though not as hard. It will be interesting after I harvest to see what is edible inside. But all of them will be taken apart outside so I don't bring those nasty things in. But my biggest worry about the earwigs is my corn. The last time I had an earwig boom like this year they ate all the silks off my corn. I will have a lot of corn in the garden this year.